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Tarot is a deck of mystery cards that forecast the future. Tarot cards are like playing cards with the only difference that while the playing card deck has 52 cards, tarot deck has 78 cards. There are four suits in each deck of cards. While each suit of playing cards has 13 cards, there are 14 cards in each suit of tarot cards.
In order to learn the tarot cards, one must first learn the types of tarot cards, meanings of each cards and the suits where they belong.
There are two types of tarot cards: Major Arcana and Minor Arcana.
While Major Arcana has 22 cards, Minor Arcana has 56 cards. Arcana is the plural form of Arcanum which means secret or mystery. Major Arcana cards are considered the power cards or big players in tarot reading and Minor Arcana cards play a supportive role and provide further insight and detail into the reading.
Broadly speaking while the Major Arcana cards describe the bright colored pictures on the canvas of our lives, the Minor Arcana cards describe their various hues and shades to enhance and diversify the detail and bring greater clarity.
The four suits of tarot cards are called Wands, Pentacles, Swords and Cups.
Each suit corresponds to an element of Nature or a psychological realm. Here is the detail of each suit and its corresponding element and psychological realm.
Here are some brief overview of each suit. To read more about each suit and the meaning of the cards within the suit, simply click the suit title.
The suit of Wands represents the spirit, creativity and the divine spark in human beings. The cards in this suit reveal a focused energy that lights up the fire in us or rouses our passions. The suit of Wands indicates our zeal at its most intense level, a level at which we almost feel as having become completely united with godhead. The wands symbolize the divine sparks that animate and activate us.
Most wands are depicted as wooden rods, staves, twigs or wooden clubs. It must be noted that wood is considered a sacred container of divine zeal, inspiration and knowledge. Wood is the fuel for fire, which is a powerful element for human advancement. Fire represents the drive, action, impulse, passion, potential, enterprise, momentum and inspiration.
Swords evoke somber images of energy. They also symbolize challenges and pitfalls in life. It must, however, be understood that challenges also open up new windows of opportunities and failure which are stepping-stones to success. The suit of swords represents the mind, the perception, the observation and ego or the self-image.
We all know that the mind can be slippery and mercurial. It can be happy, sad, morose, moody or mysterious depending upon the situation. The study of mind is a serious subject.
Swords are generally double-edged weapons. While one edge can solve the problems, the other edge can cause destruction. Swords also indicate sharpness, clarity, decisiveness, analytical mind, intelligence, confidence and so on.
Pop star Madonna is reported to have once remarked that she was sure that “the Tarot pentacles are a glimpse into the world of material & physical matters.” Pentacles, as Madonna said, represent the world on the physical plane. The main issues that the Pentacles deal on the physical plane are health, wealth and home.
Each aspect offers Leeper meaning in areas of faith, charity, bounty, equality, generosity, reciprocity, appreciation, dedication, responsibility and determination. We human beings have the ability to enhance these gifts of nature on the analogy of ‘as you sow so shall you reap” basis.
The suit of cups emanates intense sensuality that enthralls the subject. The suit of cups is ruled by the element of water, which is as formless as the air that rules the suit of swords. Water, as we know, takes the form of the container whether it is a glass or a bottle. So its interpretation also depends upon the observer. This suit deals with the matters of heart, psyche or soul and emotions. The cups also symbolize illusion, intuition, elevation, obsession, sensuality, temptation and similar other mental states.
Next > Types of Tarot Card Spreads > Instructions for Reading Tarot Cards > How the Tarot Reading Works
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